Legislation Initiated by Raoul Will Prohibit Companies from Marketing E-Cigarettes to Minors, Prevent Misleading Advertising and Ban Sales of Adulterated E-Cigarettes

CHICAGOAttorney General Kwame Raoul today applauded Gov. JB Pritzker for signing the Preventing Youth Vaping Act into law. Attorney General Raoul initiated the legislation to protect Illinois children from the harms of e-cigarettes, and it is part of his comprehensive approach to preventing youth vaping. The law prohibits companies from marketing e-cigarettes to minors, prohibits misleading e-cigarette advertising, and gives the Attorney General’s office and law enforcement agencies both criminal and civil authority to hold violators accountable.

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“The need to prevent youth e-cigarette use has never been more urgent, and the Preventing Youth Vaping Act gives us the tools to stop e-cigarette companies from marketing and advertising to minors,” Raoul said. “Our work does not end today. This law is a significant step forward in what must be a comprehensive approach to protecting young people from the dangers of using e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. I would like to thank Sen. Morrison and Rep. Morgan for their leadership, and I appreciate Gov. Pritzker’s action to codify the Preventing Youth Vaping Act into law. I look forward to our continued collaboration as my office continues to investigate the e-cigarette industry and hold accountable manufacturers who market their products to teens and young adults.”

“This legislation will make our communities healthier places to live, and most importantly, will save lives,” said Gov. Pritzker. “I’m proud that Illinois is taking yet another step toward protecting the health and safety of our young residents from tobacco and e-cigarettes, and I want to thank Attorney General Raoul, our partners in the General Assembly, as well as the advocates and organizations for their work to make these laws possible.”

The Preventing Youth Vaping Act, or Senate Bill 512, was sponsored by Sen. Julie Morrison and Rep. Bob Morgan and was passed by the Legislature with nearly unanimous bipartisan support.

“Especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe we must do everything we can to protect the lung health of our young people,” Morgan said. “The Prevent Youth Vaping Act is a critical first step in helping the next generation live smoke and vape free.”

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“Vaping- and e-cigarette-related deaths and illnesses have become a nationwide outbreak that no user is immune to – no matter how young they are,” said Morrison. “We must continue to change the culture of smoking – especially for younger generations. The Preventing Youth Vaping Act is another step toward keeping these harmful products out of the hands of children.”

The Preventing Youth Vaping Act goes into effect Jan. 1, 2022, and is intended to address the epidemic levels of youth e-cigarette usage by prohibiting companies from marketing products to minors. The new law prohibits companies from directing advertisements and marketing materials at people younger than 21 by including cartoons or images from video games, movies and other media that appeal to youth. The law also prohibits other misleading advertising that promotes using e-cigarettes as smoking cessation products or low-risk alternatives to tobacco without the required FDA approval for those uses.

As online tobacco and e-cigarette sales continue to grow, the new law seeks to prevent minors from purchasing e-cigarettes by requiring online retailers to take certain steps to ensure that purchasers are at least 21 years old. For example, the law requires that online orders be paid via check or a credit card that includes the customer’s name, and orders must be shipped to the same name and address associated with the payment method. Additionally, sellers must take steps so that “Tobacco Product” appears on the purchaser’s credit card statement. Packages also must be clearly marked as containing e-cigarettes.

During 2019, hundreds of people in several states, including Illinois, became seriously ill or were hospitalized after using e-cigarettes. The new law prohibits sales of adulterated e-cigarettes that contain specific harmful chemicals or additives. Such additives are frequently used to dilute other components, giving products a milder flavor, but cause health risks when they become a vapor.

The law is the latest action the Attorney General’s office has taken to hold e-cigarette manufacturers accountable for epidemic usage levels among youth and teens. Last year, Attorney General Raoul filed a lawsuit against Juice Man LLC over allegations the company developed and marketed its products to attract minors. In 2019, Raoul’s office filed a lawsuit against the nation’s largest e-cigarette manufacturer, Juul Labs Inc., and the litigation is ongoing. The Attorney General’s office is continuing to evaluate other e-cigarette manufacturers as part of an ongoing investigation into the e-cigarette industry. Additionally, Raoul has urged the FDA to ban flavored tobacco products and to strengthen e-cigarette guidance by prioritizing enforcement actions against flavored e-cigarettes.

For more information and free resources to help quit tobacco, please visit the Illinois Tobacco Quitline website or call 1-866-QUIT-YES.

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